This month’s Patient of the Month highlights a common tale of a pet that ate the wrong thing! However, this time with potentially devastating consequences unrelated to the more common issue of obstruction.
Kaya, a 10 month old Yorkie ate a penny.
When little Kaya began showing signs of lethargy and inappetence her parents immediately brought her in for a check-up. Dr. Cappe was her Vet and after a thorough exam and complete history, Dr. Cappe immediately suspected anemia and that a foreign body was present.
She ordered radiographs and lab work to include a complete blood count. The complete blood count would confirm the anemia and the radiographs would hopefully rule out a foreign body. Well half of that was true!
The diagnostics confirmed a foreign body as well as anemia due to high levels of zinc-related destruction of Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Due to rapid destruction of red blood cells, Dr. Cappe evaluated Kaya's packed cell volume (PCV) to calculate the number of viable red blood cells Kaya still had left. That number was low and Kaya need a blood transfusion.
While a life saving transfusion was critical, the issue of her foreign body was ever present. Radiographs showed a clear object in her stomach that was easily identified as a coin. Zinc toxicity was the most likely diagnosis.
While zinc is one of the most important minerals in the maintenance of a healthy body in both pets and humans, too much zinc can cause serious health problems. Once a penny starts to corrode, the zinc is released into the bloodstream and causes anemia and liver damage. It could take a few hours to a couple days before signs of toxicity start to show up but the damage begins immediately.
Luckily pennies are just heavy enough that they tend to stay in the stomach so a non-invasive procedure with a scope was immediately performed by Dr. Cappe to pluck the penny right out.
Once the penny was removed Kaya received her blood transfusion to correct the anemia and was maintained on IV fluids to flush the liver and help rid her body of the zinc. Supportive care was needed to comfort her upset stomach and ease her nausea.With days Kaya was on the mend.
This month we are please to share that Kaya is home with her brother Yoki and back to being simply the sweetest yorkie in town! Her pet parents credit Dr. Cappe’s expertise, professionalism and overall sweet disposition for not only saving their little girls life but helping them get through this tenuous time.
As always we love to be able to share the stories of our patients and are happy to recognize Kaya as our February Patient of the Month!!